"Everything I Own"
First of all, I want to say how thrilled I am that 'N Sync's fight with that evil man Lou Pearlman. I hope the jerk falls flat on his face now that he has lost yet another huge musical act! Lance, JC, Joey, Chris, and Justin, I always knew that you would win! Your real fans always believed in you and will now look forward to "No Strings Attached" in February or March. I hope nobody buys the CD that Pearlman will be issuing in January.
Next of all, I hope everyone had a most excellent Holiday season and that the new Millennium brings you all that you wish and desire.
DISCLAIMER: Same as usual. If you want to see it, just look at a prior chapter.
AUTHOR THANKS: I just wanted to thank everyone who has written to me with such wonderful words. Your e-mails definitely keep me going! As usual, and always, thanks SO much to David for having the best fanfic archive on the net!
In the last chapter of "Everything I Own":
Mark went outside quickly and saw Lance walking in a zombie-like state. Once he saw him, he realized that he was an idiot for even thinking of breaking up with him. "Why was I so stupid for even thinking that? I love that man with all of my heart!"
He saw Lance walking towards the street. He got worried. "Lance?" There was no response. He grew increasingly worried and began to yell. "LANCE?? LANCE!!!"
Lance did not listen to him and walked right into the middle of traffic. Mark started to freak out. "SCOOPY!!" Mark ran after Lance. JC, Joey, Chris, and Justin saw Mark running into traffic. "NO!!!" JC yelled as a car hit someone.
Now, without further ado, the next chapter in the continuing saga of "Everything I Own":
JC, Joey, Chris, and Justin had just gotten outside of the hotel when they saw Mark running into the street after Lance.
"NO!" JC screamed as he saw a car hit Mark. "MARK!"
Lance had been in a zombie-like state when he heard JC shouting Mark's name. He looked back and saw that Mark was not there. He wondered why JC yelled Mark's name when he looked ahead and saw Mark on the pavement. The car that had hit him had thrown him for about 50 feet. Unfortunately, the car was long gone.
Also unfortunately, there was a driver on the road who had just left a bar. It was his last day of work before he had a couple of days off. It was a very hard workweek for him. He had to endure non-stop telephone calls from irate customers who were rude. His supervisor also berated him. He didn't know why his supervisor didn't like him.
He was now heading home after getting a little too drunk to try to get him to forget his hell-filled week. He didn't know the hell would get a lot worse.
Lance saw that Mark had been hit by a car and had been thrown down the road. He was screaming Mark's name repeatedly and crying hysterically. He didn't even think about himself. He was about to run over to Mark when the drunk driver, who also was speeding, slammed directly into Lance, throwing him also. Joey heard the screech of the second car and was frightened to see Lance just 10 feet behind Mark.
"SCOOP!" Joey and Justin ran over to Lance's side, trying to keep him on the ground and not crawling over to Mark.
They were having a very hard time keeping Lance still. "You have to stay there, Lance." Joey said, hoping he didn't break down, as he wanted to. "You're hurt. You won't do Mark any good if you... if you..." Joey's reserves broke down and he started to cry.
As Lance slipped into unconsciousness, he whispered, "Mark..."
Lance and Mark were rushed to the hospital with JC and Justin with Mark and Chris and Joey with Lance. As the ambulances sped away, both Justin and Joey were freaking out. Chris held Joey tightly, showing him that he loved his friend and that Mark and Lance would be all right.
As JC hugged Justin, he was thinking about the last 24 hours. He was amazed at how close they all got to Mark in such a short time. During all of the meets and greets they had with fans, they met many of their fans and they always loved showing their appreciation to them. Most of the time, their interaction with them was very brief. On occasion, however, they were able to spend time with some of their fans, often when someone overcomes great problems and still kept their optimism.
JC was trying to figure out why Mark was so different. "How did we get so close with Mark so fast? Lance is even in love with him! He's a much stronger person than the rest of us." He looked at Justin. "I wish I were that strong."
Justin noticed JC looking at him. "Josh, why are you looking at me so strangely?"
JC tried to avoid the question, but he couldn't. He was able to avoid telling Justin all of the truth, however. "I'm just thinking about Lance and Mark. I hope they're gonna be OK."
"They'll be fine, Josh. God will take care of them." Justin thought for a minute then added, "Isn't it strange that Mark has made such a huge impact on us already?"
"I know. I was just thinking about that. It's weird. What I find the most shocking is that Lance fell in love with him at first sight."
Just wasn't totally convinced what Lance felt was really love. "Do you think that he really loves him? Couldn't it just be a crush?"
JC replied without pause, "Yes. He's in love with Mark. I saw him when he was looking at the monitor at Rosie's show before we went out and I saw him when we came into the fight between him and Diane. He loves him. I feel that with my heart."
JC and Justin were quiet the rest of the way to the hospital. The ambulances got to the hospital very fast. Lance and Mark were taken out of the vehicles and rushed into emergency rooms that were next to each other and prepped for surgery.
The remaining four members of 'N Sync waited for hours for word on the condition of their two friends. Eventually, a doctor came up to the four men.
"Are you friends of Mr. Bass and Mr. Johnson?" The doctor asked.
JC replied, "Yes. I'm Joshua Chasez and they are Justin Timberlake, Joseph Fatone, and Christopher Kirkpatrick." He pointed to the other three men. "How are they?"
"Right now, they are still working on James. Mark is doing a lot better. He's in a private room, resting."
Chris asked the doctor if they could see Mark. The doctor said that they could, but only one at a time. Chris went in first. He gasped when he saw Mark.
"If you think I look bad now, Chris, you should see me in the morning." Mark joked.
Chris was happy that Mark was joking around. "You're doing OK?"
Mark replied, "Well, not exactly OK. I have a broken leg, broken hand, many bruises and one hell of a headache. However, it could have been a lot worse. I'm hoping to get out of here within a few days."
Chris was relieved. "I'm sorry you had to go through it, but I'm glad you will be all right."
"I don't care how I'm doing. What matters is Lance. How is he?"
"We don't know. The doctors are still working on him."
Joey opened the door and whispered to Chris, "Chris, we need you out here."
Mark asked, "What's wrong, Joey?"
Joey didn't want Mark to worry about what was happening outside his room. "Just get your rest, Mark. You need to get well."
Mark didn't like being left out of the loop. "Joey, please tell me. I'm doing OK. You know if you don't tell me, I will get out of this bed and find out."
"It's OK, Joe. You can tell him." Chris said. "What's wrong?"
Joey sighed. "Did any of us tell the doctors to not contact Diane?"
Chris hit his forehead. "Fuck!"
Mark got scared for Lance. "Is she here?"
"Not yet, but she is coming." Joey replied.
JC ran into the room. "She's here and she is swearing up a storm."
"Can you guys help me up, please?" Mark requested.
"Mark, you need your rest." JC replied.
Mark was very angry to hear that again. "I don't fucking care about that! She is bound to kill him! I would give my life to protect him!"
Chris and JC were about to help Mark get up when a man in a very expensive suit entered the room. He went directly to Mark's bed.
"I take it you are Mark Christopher Johnson?" he asked.
"Yes I am. Who are you?" Mark responded.
"I am a lawyer for Diane Bass. I have something for you." He hands Mark an envelope then promptly leaves.
JC was nervous. "I don't like how this looks. I don't like it at all. Mark, is that what I think it is?"
Mark looked at what was in the envelope and let out a heart-breaking "NOOOOO!!!"
JC was very angry with Diane. "I fucking can't believe she did that!"
Chris was confused. "What did she do?"
JC replied, "She's giving him a choice. He could either leave him alone forever or she will press charges."
Chris was completely furious. "SHE WHAT?"
Diane stormed into the room. "It's his fault my son is in a coma! If he dies, then I will have you charged with murder!"
"It's not his fault, you fucking bitch! It's yours! Mark ran after him to save his life!" Chris screamed.
"It's your word against mine! I saw Mark shoving James into traffic!"
JC angrily said, "We will fight you every step of the way on this! If you actually loved him like you have said you do, then you wouldn't be doing any of this! You would be happy that Lance has fallen in love with such a wonderful man!"
Diane was quickly tiring of fighting over this. "I will see you in court then!" Diane stormed out of the room.
Chris tried to calm Mark down, but was failing. Mark began to cry harder than he had ever cried before. "I cannot believe this is happening! It was a dream come true! I meet you guys, get to sing with you, and then fall in love with Lance! I'm supposed to be so happy that I could burst! I'm not! Why is this happening? Did I make God angry or something?"
Chris was sympathetic to Mark. "Mark, I hope this helps you, but God has a plan for you two and part of it is to be lovers. He's testing your love for each other. You will be together. I will make sure of it. So will Josh, Joey, and Justin."
"Thank you, guys. I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you're doing for James." Mark said, still crying.
Chris hugged Mark tightly. "We're doing this for both of you."
Mark was surprised they liked him that much. "Really?"
JC then hugged Mark. "Mark, of course we are. You are our friend and we help our friends any way we can."
Chris added, "You have already been such a great friend to all of us. What you've done for Lance in a very short time is beautiful. After his last breakup, he didn't want to fall in love again with anyone. You got him to love again."
"He's really happy now. He's back to the Lance we know and love. For that alone, we owe you so much." JC said.
"You helped me realize I had feelings for Joey. You've gotten me to figure out a lot of things." Chris said.
Joey and Justin entered Mark's room and saw that Mark's face was red because of all the crying he had done.
"She's been in here?" Joey asked. JC and Chris nodded their heads. "Mark, we are going to fight this."
"Thank you, everyone. You guys are the best friends I have ever had." He paused, afraid to say what he felt he had to. "I'm really going to miss you guys."
"WHAT?" Justin yelled in shock. "You're not giving up, are you?"
"I'll never give up. I have to get back home once I am released. I have to get back to work. I can't afford to stay here. God, I don't want to leave! I love you guys so much!"
"We love you too, Mark!" Chris said.
JC then told Mark about how he and Justin were talking earlier about how close they got to him so quickly.
Justin said, "If it's money you're worried about, you can live with me. We have a lot of room there. JC and Chris already live there too and Lance and Joey are there often enough."
"Thanks, but I can't do that." Mark replied.
Everyone tried all they could do to get Mark to change his mind about leaving. They were unsuccessful, however. Mark couldn't accept what he felt was charity from his friends. He was worried that he would be hated because he was leaving. "Please don't hate me because I am leaving."
"We could never hate you, Mark!" Joey said, with tears in his eyes. "For some reason, this reminds me of the scene in Wizard of Oz where Dorothy goes back home and she has to say goodbye to her friends in Oz."
Mark laughed. "If I am Dorothy, I guess that makes you all Friends of Dorothy!"
Mark, Joey, and JC laughed hard. When he saw Justin's confusion, he explained what the term meant. Justin and Chris joined in the laughing.
"Are you sure you have to leave?" Joey asked.
"Yes, Joey. I have to. Lance and I will be apart for awhile, but we will be together again. I know it. God didn't bring him into my life and me into his for just one day then tear us apart forever. I hope that when I get back home, I can stay in touch with you guys." Mark said sadly.
All four guys said that they would stay in touch with Mark. That made Mark very happy. He had never made friends too well through his life and to have made such great friends so quickly was incredible for him.
JC inquired, "Didn't I tell you that you're stuck with us forever?"
Mark started to reply. "Yes, but..."
JC interrupted Mark. "But nothing. It's still true now. I don't necessarily agree with your leaving right now, but it still is true now. We will be your family now."
Mark asked the guys to explain to Lance why he had to leave for a while. They agreed, but Chris came up with an idea. "I have an idea. What if Scoop gets a new e-mail address that only we know about? He can stay in touch with Mark that way."
Mark was now thrilled and more optimistic. "I could kiss you, Chris! That's a great idea!"
Justin started to ask Mark, "But..."
Mark interrupted by saying, "J, it really is all about money. I wish I could stay, but I can't. I will be back. I wish I could prove to you that I would never hurt him."
Justin responded with a smile and said, "Mark, I know that."
Mark was relieved when the doctor came in. He didn't feel like explaining himself and his reasons for leaving yet again. He knew that if he did have to explain again, he would have an even bigger breakdown that he knew he would have when he got home.
The doctor asked Mark how he was feeling. When Mark said he was doing good, the doctor checked him out for awhile and said that he could be released within the hour.
Mark's heart dropped when he heard that. "Can I travel? I need to go back home and back to work."
The doctor told him he had to avoid hard exercise until his leg healed. He hated not being able to exercise for any length of time. He made a mental note to go to his gym back home and see if he could get out of his membership until he was healthy again. "Then again," he thought to himself, "I could work on my upper body. I feel so fat!" Despite all of the work he has done working out, he still felt ugly. "Tomorrow is Monday. I'll go home tomorrow, back to work on Tuesday and try to work out that night. I really wish I could take Casey's class." Casey was aerobic instructor at his gym and Mark's favorite instructor. It was a very hard class, but still was a fun class. He only wished that Casey would like him as a friend. He was friends with some of the people who took his class, but to Mark it seemed like he hated him. For the most part, Mark really didn't care what people thought about him or even if he was liked. Casey was one of the rare exceptions to that.
Mark was brought out of his daze when he heard someone shouting his name. "What?"
Chris asked, "Are you OK, Mark? You were out of it for about five minutes."
"I'm OK." Mark explained. "I was just thinking about an instructor at my gym. It's gonna kill me to not be able to take his class for a couple of months. Am I all set to go, doc?"
The doctor confirmed that he would be in an hour. "When you get home, have your doctor contact us and we'll transfer your records to them."
Mark told the doctor that he would, and the doctor left. The room grew silent for a few minutes then Mark came to a revelation. "OK, when I come back here, where do I live? Plus, I will have to look for a job."
JC replied, "When you're ready to come back, call me and we'll make the arrangements. How long will you need to get the money?"
"Fuck the money." Mark told his friends. He saw the looks of confusion on their faces. "I need to give notice at my job then I will be back. I will fight for my James."
JC was overjoyed that Mark changed his mind. "What got you to change your mind? I'm not complaining, just curious."
"I was scared. I don't like being broke. I have spent a lot of time surviving from paycheck to paycheck. If I quit my job, I wouldn't have a paycheck. Also, I am a proud person and I didn't want to borrow money from my friends. What if I couldn't pay it back?"
Joey asked, "Why does it have to be a loan? Can it be a gift?"
"No, Joey. It will seem like welfare or something. I never have accepted anything like that. No welfare, unemployment, or anything like that. I may be poor, but if I take anything from you guys, I would pay you back as soon as I could."
Joey accepted that answer, but didn't like it. He liked doing things for his friends, and sometimes that meant giving financial support to someone. "But if it takes awhile for you to pay us back, don't worry about it. What is money for if we can't help someone we care about." He paused for a minute. "I will really miss you when you're gone." He hugged Mark tight, maybe a little too tight.
"Are you trying to kill me, Joe? Hugs are great, but remember I still am hurt."
Joey blushed and felt bad that he had hurt Mark. "I'm sorry!"
"It's OK. I will be back, though. It won't be that long. I'll even get a cell phone so you all can call me anytime, day or night. You're been great friends to me already and I want to be the best friend I can be. Chris, you had better damn well call me the day after your first date with Joey and give me details." He thought about that for a minute then added, "Well, not explicit details." Everyone laughed.
"I will. I promise you." Chris said.
"When do you think you will leave?" JC asked.
Mark responded, "Tomorrow morning probably. I'll call right now and find out when I can get a flight."
JC asked if he could make the flight arrangements. Mark didn't know why he wanted to, but agreed to it. JC went outside of Mark's room to make the calls.
"I thought you had a flight because of the contest?" Chris asked.
"I do, but I need to give my job two weeks notice that I am leaving. If I were to stay now, I wouldn't be here when we fight Diane."
JC came back in the room. "It's all set."
"I hope you will let us see you off. We can give you a lift."
Mark thought about what he would be feeling at the airport and didn't like what he was thinking. "OK. Just be prepared for me to freak out and just basically lose it."
"We'll be there for you, Mark." Chris said.
Joey added, "We'll always be there for you."
The next day, Mark boarded the plane back to his home of Portland, Oregon. He debated all night about whether he would ask the guys to see him off. He finally decided that he wanted them to, so they were there.
It was a very emotional scene. Mark was crying heavily. However, when he first saw JC, Chris, Joey, and Justin as they walked up to him, he cracked up. It was the first time he saw them in their disguises. They all wore basketball caps and sunglasses. Justin even wore black. Nobody would ever suspect that he wouldn't be wearing blue, his favorite color, even though he didn't wear blue as often as most of their fans thought."
They all hugged, and Mark once again promised that he would be back in two weeks and he went to board the plane. His heart was broken, more broken that it ever had been in his life. Several hours later, the plane landed in Portland and he got off of the plane. As he was going to get his baggage, he saw someone with a large sign that had his name on it. He thought nothing more of it and got his luggage. Walking towards the exit, he saw the sign again and went over to that person. "Excuse me? Are you looking for me? I'm Mark Johnson."
The person lowered the sign and Mark saw it was Joel. "Joel! What are you doing here? I thought you were still in L.A."
"You never saw me on the plane?" Joel asked. Mark shook his head. Joel explained how he was scheduled to leave later in the week, but JC called him and asked him if he could take an earlier flight because he knew Mark would need a friend. JC didn't say why Mark would need a friend, just that he would need one.
"So, what happened? How did you hurt your leg?"
"Can we go somewhere private?" Mark asked.
"Sure. Does this have something to do with you know who?"
"Yes. A lot has happened. First, I have to apologize to you for forgetting about you."
Joel was confused. "Forgot me? You never forgot me. I had to leave. You were in with Justin and I didn't want to interrupt that. I had another audition to go to."
As they were walking towards Joel's car, they talked about Joel's auditions. Unfortunately, everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Joel was glad that he did have a lot of productions back home that he was going to do, but he wondered when he would get his "big break". "Maybe something will happen when I take my one man show across the country next year."
"You're gonna be a huge star, Joel. I know it. I keep saying it, but it has to be said. You are the best actor I have ever seen. You always blow me away by your talent. There is no other actor that I can guarantee will give such an outstanding performance every single time."
Joel appreciated those comments a lot and hugged Mark, partially to thank him and partially to show that he was there for him.
On the way to Joel's house, they kept talking about everything. Well, everything except for what was wrong with Mark. Mark couldn't face it right now. He wanted to forget things for awhile.
When they got to Joel's house, Mark told him how he couldn't stay very long because he had to get to work early the next morning, even though they weren't expect him back for a few days. Joel told him that he could spend the night there and he could borrow some clothes from him.
Joel tried to get Mark to talk about what was wrong, but Mark stayed silent. "Please talk to me. Tell me what's wrong so I can help you!" Joel asked, getting more worried by the second.
Mark finally began to talk. "Let me first say that the last few days have been the weirdest in my life. A lot of stuff has happened that has changed my life completely and forever. You know about my being on camera on Rosie's show, meeting and singing with 'N Sync, and falling in love with James."
Joel nodded his head and added, "Plus, having Lance fall in love with you, too."
Mark sighed heavily then continued. "I wasn't sure that I was good for him. The two of us have cried a lot the last couple of days. I told them all about John and naturally they were pissed off. Josh even wanted to kill him. James wished John was dead also. Then the call came from Scott, saying he was indeed dead. James felt guilty for some strange reason and ran off. While looking for him was when I thought that maybe I should just leave. I went into the hospital chapel and asked God for His help."
"Did you get it?"
Mark smiled and chuckled a little bit, remembering what happened next. "Yes. I heard a voice that told me to follow my heart and not my head. I thought it was God actually talking to me."
Joel cracked up also. "Who was it really?"
"I didn't know that God sounded like AJ McLean."
Joel's eyes bugged. "You met AJ McLean?"
Mark nodded his head. "Kevin was with him, too."
"Kevin Richardson? God, Mark! I just hate you now!"
Mark laughed. "I know. By the way, both of them are either gay or bi."
Joel was astounded. "WHAT?"
"Yep. Alexander and Kevin are definitely a couple. They didn't say they were, but I could see the love in their eyes. It was very beautiful. Everyone who thinks gays are bad should look at them."
Mark and Joel talked some more about Mark meeting AJ and Kevin. He said that they seemed like wonderful people, and not the egotistical jerks that he thought they would be like. "I really should be happy right now..." He started to cry again. "I just am totally destroyed! I am a shell of what I used to be."
Joel asked what had happened to change everything because when he had last seen him, he was indeed ecstatic and almost seemed to be floating.
When Mark thought about what Diane did to Lance and himself, his hurting turned to sheer anger. "James had an affair with Josh a couple of years ago, but it ended because Josh couldn't sneak around anymore. He was out to his family, but James wasn't. James still feels bad about that and didn't want us to break up for the same reason. He decided to come out to his mother."
Joel didn't like where this conversation was heading and felt he knew what happened next. "Did she not accept it?"
"Actually, she did take it well. She had a feeling that he was gay years ago. She was just waiting for him to tell her. She even thought he and Josh were still dating."
"So, she wants him to be with JC and not with you?" Joel asked.
"That's right." Mark said and got even angrier. "The fucking bitch made him make a choice. It was either me or his family. If he were to date me, then he was no longer her son."
Joel started to get really angry also. "WHAT? Why is she so against his being with you? Doesn't she want him to be happy?"
"It's his money. She thinks I am using him for his money and fame and then I would dump him."
"God! You would never do that!"
"The rest of the guys entered the room just as she was saying that. They really stuck up for me. But she wouldn't listen. She kicked him out of the family and he ran out. Before I left, I gave her a piece of my mind and told her that I would never let her see him again."
Mark explained how he left the hotel and saw Lance walking around outside then how Lance just walked into the street all of a sudden. He cried and shook as he detailed the accidents and how Diane forbid him to see Lance ever again or she would get him arrested.
"You are going to fight it, aren't you?" Joel asked.
Mark replied, "Yes. Tomorrow when I get into work, I will give two weeks notice and I will fly back to Los Angeles and will join JC, Joey, Chris, and Justin in the fight to clear my name. I just don't know if I have the fight in me."
Joel hugged Mark and comforted him as Mark thought about what he was about to face in the coming weeks.
TO BE CONTINUED
OK, I have finally gotten past the first day. I know I am glad of that and you all probably are also. What will happen next with Lance and Mark? Will they be able to get back together or will Diane succeed in keeping them apart? As usual, please e-mail me with your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.